A dress drive for Putting on the Glitz is being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Repeat Street Thrift Boutique, 22276 Dewdney Trunk Rd. in Maple Ridge. (Contributed)

A dress drive for Putting on the Glitz is being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Repeat Street Thrift Boutique, 22276 Dewdney Trunk Rd. in Maple Ridge. (Contributed)

Putting on the Glitz is a grassroots initiative

High school graduation is an important milestone in many people’s lives.

However some students have more obstacles than others reaching this goal and when they do some can’t even afford to attend their special day.

The formal attire alone can cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention all the accessories and photos.

Putting on the Glitz is a grassroots initiative involving PLEA Community Services, representatives from Ridge Meadows Community Service Agencies and local businesses.

PLEA organizes Putting On The Glitz, which provides clothing and accessories for students to attend their high school graduation ceremonies.

“It’s for youth that can’t afford to attend their graduation ceremony obviously due to financial constraints in their family and so we provide them with a grad outfit, whether it’s a guy or a girl, and all the accessories,” said Michelle Cherak, acting program manager with PLEA.

Students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are referred to the program by school counselors and teachers.

Two dress drives are coming up for the event, for which people can drop off their gently used donations.

Graduation dresses, men’s suits, accessories such as dress shoes, jewelery and men’s shoes will all be accepted.

There is a great need for plus-sized dresses.

But Cherak is asking that people drop off grad dresses and not bridesmaid dresses.

“We only have limited space in our storage,” Cherak explained.

“We get a ton of those and they are beautiful dresses but they are not what we need for the grad program,” she said.

This year, Putting on the Glitz is taking place on March 7 at Thomas Haney secondary.

Students who qualify will have the opportunity to shop for a free graduation outfit. There are seamstresses on site to do minor alterations.

Professional hair stylists and makeup artists do their hair and makeup and photographers will take cap and gown grad photos and formal grad photos all for free.

And at the end of the night they get to take everything home with them to have for their graduation day. Westgate Flower Garden donates corsages and boutonnieres for the special day as well.

“It does mean everything. It means a chance for them to graduate and have fun amongst their peers just like everybody else,” said Cherak.

Cherak says they are still looking for hair stylists, makeup artists and seamstress volunteers.

The Repeat Street Thrift Boutique dress drive takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 20 at 22276 Dewdney Trunk Rd. in Maple Ridge.

A second dress drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Haney Place Mall.

• Cherak: 604-218-7624.